A zealous fan of Sichuan food, Kinya Komoda had no reason to miss the 2018 Chengdu Food Culture Festival held in early April at Shinjuku Central Park in Tokyo.
"I go to Chengdu two or three times every year...I must update myself on Sichuan cuisine, in order to serve Tokyoites with the real flavors of Chengdu," said Kinya Komoda, "Sichuan food is both traditional and innovative and has a growing number of lovers here in Tokyo, the hi-end ones and the ordinary."
He was one of the many people attending the festival, jointly organized by China National Tourism Administration Tokyo Office, Mala Alliance (Japan), Chengdu Culture & Tourism Development Group, the website of gochengdu.cn etc.
A Tokyo local, Kinya Komoda visited Chengdu for the first time about 20 years ago and fell in love with local food immediately. Impressed by its spicy flavors and diverse styles, he has become a Sichuan cuisine chef and now runs a Sichuan food restaurant in Tokyo.
His obsession with Sichuan flavors has gone so far that he has created new versions of Sichuan food at his restaurant. "Know what this is?" he asked reporters from gochengdu.cn, pointing at an offering at restaurant, "This is called the Ran Rice, cooked with the same methods for Yibin Ran Noodles. Japanese people love rice. Both the Ran Rice and noodles are tasty, believe me!" Yibin Ran Noodles (also called the Burning Noodles) is a very famous Sichuan snack, noted for its spicy taste.
The food festival attracted some 100 thousand visitors from Japan and the attention of local media in Tokyo, including Yahoo Japan and many others, who gave reporting on the event.
Among the visitors was Ryosuke Tamura, also a Sichuan food chef and a popular TV star in Japan. He gives TV lectures on how to cook Sichuan-style food. A number of his fans recognized him and took photos with him at the event venue.
"I have been cooking Sichuan-style food in Japan for about ten years after I had the cooking training in Chengdu. Sichuan-style food is amazing and attractive and my task is to promote it in Japan," said Ryosuke Tamura.
"Chengdu is taking new looks every day...I can hardly imagine what the city will look like when I go there next time," remarked Kinya Komoda.